Recall our setup. We start with a projective surface that becomes rational after some finite extension of scalars . Let be the group of -cycles of degree . Last time we defined the Manin pairing using the corestriction map . Two rational points are called Brauer equivalent if for all , and denote the set of rational points up to Brauer equivalence by .

Now let be the Néron-Severi group of . It turns out we can factor the Manin pairing as follows:

The goal of today is to say something about this factoring. Last time we wrote down the Hochschild-Serre spectral sequence and said the map was just the quotient map followed by the inclusion. Note that since all differentials are for all we get that it equals and sits inside . Thus we have a sequence whose composition is and hence gives a map

This defines for us the left vertical map, since the left factor is just projection from all -cycles of degree to -cycles modulo rational equivalence of degree . The right vertical map is just the one induced on group cohomology via the standard intersection pairing on the surface .

This leaves us with the bottom map. Call it where . It turns out that the majority of Bloch’s paper is merely defining this map and checking that the above diagram commutes, so we won’t get into that. It involves lots of K-theory which I’m not going to get into.

Supposing the above, the main theorem of the paper is that is finite in the case of our hypotheses. We can check the nice corollary that is finite. If is empty we’re done, so fix some . The proof is that we can make by . Since , it must have finite cardinality. We need only check that distinct Brauer classes stay distinct to get the result, but this follows from commutativity of the diagram and the fact that Brauer classes are by definition distinguished under the Manin pairing.

It turns out that Manin had already proved that is finite for cubic surfaces, so Bloch’s result extends this to any rational surface. As a consequence of the construction of , Bloch also gets the strange result that if is a conic bundle, i.e. has generic fiber a conic, and is local, then if has good reduction then . Thus at places of good reduction is trivial.

Note how useful this is. For example, take some conic bundle over . Good reduction means that there exists some proper, regular model whose generic fiber is and whose special fiber is non-singular. It is hard to tell whether or not has good reduction, because you might accidentally be picking the wrong model. With this condition of Bloch, one can sometimes explicitly calculate some non-trivial element of (Manin actually does this using the defining equation of a class of Châtalet surfaces!) which tells you has bad reduction.

To phrase this a different way, to test for honest bad reduction without some criterion requires a choice of model over . There could be infinitely many distinct choices here, so it could be hard to tell if you’ve exhausted all possibilities. This criterion of Bloch says that no choice needs to be made. Bad reduction can be tested inherently from the variety over .

December 11, 2012 at 3:35 am

Do you know if you can also recite this within Arakelov geoemetry?

December 11, 2012 at 8:17 am

That’s interesting. Is there a specific theorem it follows from or a paper I can look at? Thanks!

December 13, 2012 at 12:20 am

All I know so far is the fact that Arakelov geometry may be useful in showing finiteness of such rational points towards the big conjectures it was applied to. In fact, I keep wondering that it might still do some good if it could be reused to prove the Fermat-Wiles theorem again!

December 18, 2012 at 3:57 am

By the way don’t ask me to prove this, but if you interprete matter in cosmic Galois theory it might help to learn e.g. if extensions of the standard model by, say, sterile neutrinos correspond to finding rational points of certain surfaces corresponding to different number fields. I should probably ask this from Matilde too.